Natural hazards and Opasnet

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How can Opasnet and open assessment help to organise information about risks and risk management related to natural hazards, such as earthquakes or tsunamis, in a better way than nowadays? "Better" in this context means that, compared with current methods, the information

  • is more readily available to users,
  • is available to a larger group of users,
  • is of better scientific quality,
  • gives better guidance to decision-making, or
  • is collected or synthesised with smaller resource needs.



Current methods, models, tools, and databases. These include ROVER, SELENA, CUEDD, OpenRisk.


Improved methods, models, tools, and databases that have at least the current functionalities but are more coherent with each other and maybe open assessment.


  • Agora organised the International Conference on Open Risk Analysis in Cambridge, UK, June 12-13, 2009. The content is based mainly on discussions in that meeting.


CUEDD (Cambridge University Earthquake Damage Database)

  • User interface tools of CUEDD could be adjusted to Opasnet Base.
  • CUEDD database could be merged with Opasnet Base (either virtually or physically).
    • Tasks needed:
      • The data input and output formats of CUEDD and Opasnet Base should be analysed and made coherent.
      • Proprietary issues need to be solved.
      • Data sensitivity issues need to be solved.
      • Interfaces are needed to the existing user tools.
    • Benefits:
      • All future tools for exploring data in Opasnet Base would be available for CUEDD (current tools are very limited).
      • The description and discussion functionalities of Opasnet become available to CUEDD.
      • Maintenance would require less resources, and resources obtained would benefit a larger mass of data.
    • Risks and costs:
      • Transforming data is always costly and may bring little benefit.

ROVER (Rapid Observation of Vulnerability and Estimation of Risk)

  • Database merging seems unfeasible.
  • Opasnet could learn from user interfaces developed for ROVER.
  • Opasnet could offer a forum for describing data analyses of ROVER, and discuss them.
  • Is there original research going on based on ROVER database? This work could be performed in Opasnet or Heande.


  • OpenRisk functions and methods could be described, discussed, and developed in Opasnet.
  • Software versions could be downloadable from Opasnet.


  • KML-based file formats should be studied in Opasnet as well. It seems a very promising way to present GIS data with existing, free software.
  • SELENA and RISe]] can be described in Opasnet, and methods can be further developed and discussed there.

Development of earthquake risk models

  • Opasnet can be used to chop a modelling effort into smaller pieces (methods) that are developed separately.
  • Methods are then operationalised as tools that are actual software codes for performing the tasks.
  • Variables in Opasnet estimates of any real-life phenomena. These can be used as parts of models.

Utilising the universal object structure of open assessment

AGORA could utilise the information structure developed for open assessment. It is based on standardised objects for different kinds of information. They are briefly described here.

  • Assessment: An object to answer a specific policy need and question.
  • Variable: Describes some real-world issue (a measurable property with a research question and a current hypothesis).
  • Method: A how-to-do description of manipulating a piece of information. It can be many things starting from a single equation.
  • Tool: A practical realisation of a method (a computer code, for example).
  • Study: A research study resulting in a set of observations.